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While relief has come for many in the Horn of Africa, people in the region and aid workers around the world fear that the next cycle of drought and famine could deal a devastating blow to families and livelihoods.
For Mercy Corps, this has meant creating a sharper focus on helping the people of the Horn not only recover from such disasters, but build their ability to anticipate, prepare and withstand future crises
A major initiative is to improve overall health by combating malnutrition. Collectively, over 500,000 people received health and nutrition education in 2012 due to Mercy Corps programs, including 238,000 who were screened for severe or moderate malnutrition.
In Ethiopia, nearly 200 healthcare sites were rebuilt or established. Mercy Corps helped train 1,589 health workers and volunteers in sanitation and nutrition education. These individuals can now be mobilized to provide health services or share health messages with their communities in an ongoing way.
With additional long-term sustainability in mind, Mercy Corps trained 254 Regional Health Board workers to manage health facilities and mobile health teams.
According to Mercy Corps staff there: "In each month, two health extension workers/nurses were attached to the mobile teams on a rotational basis. Thereafter, the staff returned to their health facilities where they introduce and integrate the nutritional care to their routine health services…When the facility is fully functional and integrated, Mercy Corps (staff) withdraw and focus on another health post..." thus building the community’s capacity to carry on the work even after Mercy Corps has left.
Photo: Mobile team screening beneficiaries during a mobile health and nutrition visit, courtesy of Mercy Corps.